Was Brexit Caused by the Unhappy and the Old?

28 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2017

See all articles by Federica Liberini

Federica Liberini

ETH Zürich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Eugenio Proto

University of Glasgow; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Michela Redoano

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Abstract

On 23 June 2016, the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union (so-called 'Brexit'). This paper uses newly released information, from the Understanding Society data set, to examine the characteristics of individuals who were for and against Brexit. Two key findings emerge. First, unhappy feelings contributed to Brexit. However, contrary to commonly heard views, the key channel of influence was not through general dissatisfaction with life. It was through a person's narrow feelings about his or her own financial situation. Second, despite some commentators' guesses, Brexit was not caused by old people. Only the very young were substantially pro-Remain.

Keywords: Brexit, European Union, referendum, voting

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Liberini, Federica and Oswald, Andrew J. and Proto, Eugenio and Redoano, Michela, Was Brexit Caused by the Unhappy and the Old?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11059. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3045756

Federica Liberini (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute ( email )

Zurich
Switzerland

Andrew J. Oswald

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
523510 (Phone)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7 / 9
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Eugenio Proto

University of Glasgow ( email )

University Avenue
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/eugenioproto-research/home

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Michela Redoano

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
+44 24 7652 3474 (Phone)
+44 24 7652 3032 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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